I believe in the bicycle, and all it represents.
I believe in fitness, therefore self-improvement. I believe in human ingenuity, and we can always use more of that. I believe in a clean environment, along with walkable, bike-friendly, efficient community design, which rewards us with human-scaled towns and cities that foster community and connections to each other, and the world around us.
That word; connections, is, perhaps, the one word that best describes what the bicycle is all about. It allows one to experience the world far better than behind the wheel of a speeding car. When I’m riding I am focused on where I am, as well as where I want to end up. I savor the landscape, or streetscape, taking in those things that are beautiful, but also paying attention to those things that are not. I therefore feel that I am better connected to the place I live in.
At its humblest, a bike is essential transportation, allowing the less well-off to get to places their legs alone could never manage. These are connections of necessity, and we ought to make every effort to facilitate them.
Of course, there are those friendships that bikes foster. I’ve met some great folks while involved in the sport; some of the best friends I’ll ever have. Together we have covered miles, discussed issues, shared each other lives, consoled each other on occasion, had laughs at each others expense, served a few worthy causes and, sometimes, eaten too much for our own good. Even when I feel less then energetic, I can count on the collective to entice me out for some exercise and adventure. I am grateful for their enthusiasm.
These days, I try to spend time on our tandem bike with our daughter. I hope to instill in her a love of the sport, and a connection to her adopted home town. Pittsburgh is a long way from her native China, but it’s a great city, filled with history, culture and good people.
As we head towards the winter of 2006, and twilight of this year’s riding, I am already dreaming of the events I’ll attend next year. It’s what I do: dream of the chance to cross that next horizon, conquer that stubborn hill, or push past the next personal mileage threshold. It keeps me going, in spite of the passage of time. So, to those hearing this who don’t ride, I invite you to give cycling a try. It can be a sport for a lifetime. To those who do, I say “safe passage” to you. Hopefully we will share miles and smiles, on the next epic ride.
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